1 Department of Forestry, College of Agriculture, Wollo University, Dessie, Ethiopia
2 Department of Natural Recourse Management, College of Agriculture and Natural Resources Sciences, Debre Birhan University, Debre Birhan, Ethiopia
Empirical evidence on the potential of area exclosure in the restoration of severely degraded lands is crucially important. Thus, a study was conducted to examine the influence of exclosure age on vegetation structure, diversity, and biomass carbon stock in the central dry lowland of Ethiopia.
Exclosures of 5, 15, >20 years old, and adjacent open grazing land were selected. Data on vegetation were collected using 20 × 20 m sampling quadrats which were laid along parallel transect lines.
The result showed that 17 woody species which represent 9 families were recorded at exclosures and open grazing lands. Shannon-Wiener (H') diversity index ranged from 0.74 (open grazing land) to 2.12 (middle age exclosure). Shannon evenness (E) index was higher in the middle age exclosure (0.80). Woody species basal area and tree density significantly (p < 0.05) increased with increasing exclosure age. The Aboveground woody biomass significantly (p < 0.05) varied from 12.60 (open grazing land) to 68.61 Mg ha-1 (middle age exclosure). Similarly, the aboveground biomass (AGB) carbon stocked was significantly (p < 0.05) higher in the middle (32 Mg ha-1) and old age exclosures (31 Mg ha-1).
This study indicated that exclusion can restore the degraded vegetation and sequester and stock more atmospheric carbon dioxide in the aboveground biomass. Therefore, open degraded grazing land of the lowland areas can be restored into a promising stage through area exclosure land use management.
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